I’ve Been Living a Lie

My mom likes puzzles.  For her, the biggest puzzle of all is tracking down those that have come before her. For as long as I can remember, my mother has been obsessed with finding her “roots”.  She and my grandmother would write back and forth to each other, sharing facts, offering suggestions and just trying to solve the puzzle.  One of my earliest memories is watching Mom carefully open a white envelope containing a letter from my grandma, then sitting down with her worn spiral-bound steno notepad to down new names and dates. Then she would mutter to herself as she struggled to make the connections between family relations. Every once in a while, she would get excited and shout “aha!” when she made some sort of discovery.

When Mom knew she had a clue she would write a letter to the county clerk of some far-off exotic place like Michigan or North Dakota, asking them to search for and send her a copy of whatever record she needed. It could be anything from a death or birth certificate, a marriage license or military records.  She would always include a stamped, self-addressed envelope and a crisp dollar bill or two to cover any fees. Often times, the letter (and the dollar bills) would come back with a handwritten apology at not being able to find the requested records.  Mom would be heartbroken, yet still determined.  Every once in a while, the returned letter would contain the elusive record that Mom had been searching for.  Those were the days that Mom danced with joy up and down the hall. 

A month or so ago, one of my cousins contacted Mom through Facebook asking her for some family information.  In the blink of an eye, Mom’s interest in genealogy was back in full force. Luckily for her, the days of sending off letters, then waiting months for any sort of response were long gone. 

Mom dug out her ancient genealogy software and quickly determined that it was much too old to be of any use.  So she made a quick trip to the store, where she gleefully plopped down her money and ran home with a brand new Family Tree Maker software.  Then she stayed up all night playing with it.

Yesterday was the first time I chatted with my mother since she got her new tool. She was so excited about her new discoveries that she could barely speak.  She bragged that could find county records instantly with her new software. All she needed was to know what to look up. 

Mom decided that she needed to show me how wonderful her new, improved software really was. So, she looked up my marriage certificate.  She couldn’t find it.  As she had complete faith in her software, the natural conclusion was that I was never married. 

Huh…for the last twenty-one years I thought I was married.  As my mother always tell me, she’s always right, I must be wrong and have been living a lie.  I can’t help but wonder what other facts that that miraculous software is going to find out about me…

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25 Responses to I’ve Been Living a Lie

  1. Oh, well. Don’t worry. For awhile I thought I was never born. I wasn’t born in a city but a military hospital so I had to look else where for my birth certificate.

    Good for your mom on doing her geneology.

  2. Tylor says:

    Let’s hope she can find birth certificates so you don’t get cut from the family tree.

  3. lori says:

    Maybe you have a kid you didn’t know you had??

  4. terry says:

    hi, susie ~

    it is neat that your mom is getting excited again about geneaology.

    how funny it is that your marriage certificate was not located!

    it is amazing the things we can find now with ease that previously were hard to obtain.

    ( of course, with the exception of your marriage certificate!) =)
    i am sure it will show up!
    xoxo, terry

  5. I think your mom’s non-discovery has turned your 21 last years into a more romantic life full of adventure, don’t you think?

  6. bermudabluez says:

    Perhaps you should let your husband know about this little secret!!

    Sounds like your mom will have some fun with her new software!!

  7. Kathy Ariano says:

    Oh my! Sounds like a Lucy and Ricky episode!

  8. Oh you hussy. Living in sin all these years! Was your mother terribly shocked?

  9. Your whole life has been a lie!

  10. Leanne says:

    Uh-oh …Oh, Lucy, you’ve got some ‘splaining to do!
    ; )

  11. That’s hilarious! I can imagine my MIL thinking that way. (She actually thinks everything is a conspiracy – I’m sure of it!)

    Funny post.

  12. Scraps says:

    Too funny! I wish my previous marriages could be wiped out just because a piece of software couldn’t pull up the certificates, lol.

    Sounds like a good excuse to renew your vows and make it “official” after all this time–any excuse to party!!!

  13. Alexandra says:

    Followed you over from Lady blogger’s. The same thing happened to us!! What a great idea for a post!! If I do my story, of course, I will reference you.


  14. R.M.Gilbert says:

    Too funny. If only you’d known you never married him sooner. Was he devastated when you told him the news?!

    Want to thank you for stopping by and reading my YAFF Muse post at : ( http://rmgilbert.com ) yesterday, it was really great of you to come by and comment.

    And I hope things turn out for your mom, I mean, she might find out her whole family never existed. 🙂 Great post!!

  15. Natalie says:

    Something similar happened to my aunt! She went to get a copy of her birth certificate, and found out that it was never signed by the doctor…which apparently means that it’s possible an adoption had taken place. So she bugs my grandma about finding out whether or not she was really adopted! I think she’s just trying to disown our dysfunctional family 😉

  16. Lynne says:

    This reminds me of the time my mother told me I didn’t know how to swim! Too funny Susie! Mothers!

  17. Diane says:

    great story. my mom too really liked to search her roots. fun isn’t it? after my mom died we found a box with all the letters in it that my father wrote to my mom during WWII–every single one was there–worn from the years and barely legible–but STILL THERE. we learned that daddy called mom “butch”—he never did after they were married. so weird. but it was incredible to hold that history in our hands and share in their budding love from afar.

    thanks for sharing this. dropping by from the ladies bloggers. have a great day.

  18. We moved shortly after we were married, that we never received our official marriage certificate. I always joke that we must not be legally married. So reading this made me chuckle. Thanks

    PS Found you through the Tea Party Social

  19. Lauren says:

    I get kind of skeptical about those things. I mean, computers and technology can be a real help, but when it fails to show a record that was clearly made between two people then you have to wonder how much stock you can really put into those software programs.

  20. Pamela says:

    I do that in spurts —
    we have the family tree software, but mine certainly needs updating

    So… we demand to see your marriage certificate Bwaaa ha ha ha

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